Steinhart Brothers & Co. were importers and wholesale liquor dealers based in New York City from the mid-1870’s up to the start of National Prohibition. Four Steinhart brothers: David, Henry, Lewis and Morris were the proprietors of the business and later members of the Strasser family also got involved. The early years of the business were profiled in a booklet entitled “A Souvenir of N.Y.’s Liquor Interests” published in 1893.
Steinhart Brothers & Co., Importers and Wholesale Liquor Dealers, Nos. 299 and 301 Patchen Avenue, Corner Chauncey Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.; 121 and 123 Hudson Street, Corner North Moore. – This representative establishment, one of the most progressive, popular and reliable concerns engaged in the great wholesale liquor trade of New York, was founded in 1872, by Lewis Steinhart, the firm becoming Steinhart Brothers in 1878 and in 1887 the present firm was organized, the individual members being Lewis Steinhart, M. Steinhart, H. Steinhart, D.G. Steinhart and A. Strasser. The copartners are all natives of New York, members of the Wholesale Liquor Dealers Association and are energetic, enterprising business men, favorably known in trade circles. The firm opened an uptown branch at Nos. 207 and 209 East 120th Street in Harlem, in 1891, buying out the house of Carson & Carroll. The Brooklyn branch was secured in 1888, the firm succeeding Aug. Immig, who had been established twenty-one years. A bottle and small package business is done at the branches; at the main store the trade is exclusively wholesale. The latter premises comprise a store and basement fully equipped with every facility for the storage of heavy stock carried, the handling and bottling of goods, the firm making a specialty of wines and liquors of their own bottling. A staff of 100 hands in all is employed in the various departments. Steinhart Brothers & Co. are general dealers in all the leading brands of wines, liqueurs, cordials, bitters, gins, brandies, champagnes, rums, Irish and Scotch, rye and bourbon whiskies, both of foreign and domestic manufacture, selling the same in bond and tax paid. They are sole agents in the United States and Canada for the original and only genuine A.E. Boonekamp Maag Bitters, established and invented at Antwerp Belgium in 1815. They are also agents for the Dr. Harter Medicine Company, of St. Louis Mo., manufacturers of Dr. Harter’s Wild Cherry Bitters, for medicinal use. Both of these bitters are popularly known and need no praise, their excellence having been fully demonstrated. Those ordering goods from this house will receive honorable and liberal treatment.
The NYC directories of that era confirm, clarify and add to the early history. Lewis (sometimes named Louis) is the first Steinhart brother that I can find with the occupation “liquors,” supporting the fact that he was the founder of the company. He’s was listed in the 1875 directory with two locations, 143 Broome and 107 Columbia. Morris and Henry follow Lewis at 143 Broome in the 1877 and 1878 listings respectively. Around this time the brothers apparently had a short term business relationship with Bernard Hartman that is not mentioned in the profile. In 1879 and only that year, both Hartman and the firm of Steinhardt & Hartman are also listed at the 143 Broome address with the occupation liquors. David Steinhardt is first listed in the 1884 directory.
The first company listing I can find for Steinhardt Brothers is in the 1882 directory. In 1889, the company name changes to Steinhardt Brothers & Co., confirming the reorganization mentioned in the profile.
Between 1875 and the early 1890’s the company maintained many different addresses within Manhattan. The primary ones included:
- 143 Broome Street: 1875 – 1883
- 458 Greenwich Street: 1879 – 1890
- 87 – 93 Hudson Street: 1879 – 1888
- 121 Hudson Street: 1893 – 1896
- 315 Bowery: first listed in 1886 – 1898
- 134 Mott Street: 1898 – 1902
- 209 East 120th Street: 1892 – 1900
The profile mentioned branch locations that did a retail package business and a main wholesale location. Of the above locations, it’s not clear to me which was which.
The profile also mentioned the opening of a Brooklyn location in 1888. A copartnership notice regarding the Brooklyn operation dated February 1, 1889 was included in the August 6, 1889 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
To Whom It May Concern – Steinhart Bros. & Co., of New York and Edward Strasser of Brooklyn, have formed a copartnership to carry on a liquor business corner Patchen Ave. and Chauncey St. under the firm name of Steinhart Bros. & Co.
This appears to be the time that the Strassers got involved with the business. At the same time that Edward joined them in Brooklyn, Adolph Strasser was listed for the first time at each of the Steinhardt Bros. Manhattan addresses. The NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories in the early 1900’s list nine principals: Lewis, Morris, Henry and David J. Steinhart; Edward, William W. Joseph A. and William Strasser and Louis Fletcher. By 1908, the business was listed as a New York Corporation with Lewis Steinhardt – president, William Strasser – treasurer and Joseph Strasser – secretary.
In 1900, Joseph Strasser was the firm’s advertising manager. In an interview published in the January 24, 1900 issue of the “Printers Ink” he talked about the firm’s approach to advertising. The interview focused on another of the firm’s brands, “Roxbury Rye” but still gives a good idea of their general thinking. Portions of the interview follow:
“What was your initial advertising step?” was the next question.
“About the very first was the adoption of street cars and the elevated roads. We have been liberal and rather constant patrons of these ever since starting, using both single and double cards, as well as station display, and we have also used theatrical programs extensively from the first.”
“Did you not go into the newspapers?”
“Only very limitedly. I consider dailies the mediums for telling the public more about the special merits of an article. For this purpose we employed what we consider even a better way, since it is more personal, more direct and allows us to say more than we could say in limited space. We circularized – sending out in addition to the educational matter, fine lithographed cards and elegant glass signs. These were, of course, directed to dealers entirely.”
Beginning in the early 1900’s the business had two primary locations, 29 – 31 Ninth Avenue and 2207 Third Avenue and by 1915 they were down to just the Ninth Avenue address. Around this time, Joseph Strasser replaced Lewis Steinhardt as president. Henry Steinhart was vice president but the other Steinhart brothers were no longer listed.
The 1919 Copartnership and Corporation Directory still listed them at the Ninth Avenue address but in the 1922 Directory it was stated that they were “in liquidation.”
After National Prohibition, it appears that the Steinhart name resurfaced in a company called Steinhadt Company, Inc., located at 644 Greenwich Street. The president was listed as Fred Steinhardt who had previously served as the Secretary of Steinhart Brothers & Co., in the mid to late 1910’s. The business applied for several liquor brand trade marks in 1934 including Golden Elk, DuBarry and Littlemore, but I can’t find any information on this company after the mid-1930’s.
According to the Tamany Times “The Kintore” brand was introduced into the United States market in 1897.
The Kintore brand of Scotch whiskey was introduced into the market at the beginning of the year by Messrs. A. Halliday & Co., No. 17 Harrison Street, this city.
It is a very high class Glinlivet production, distilled near the town of Kintyre, warranted ten years old, and a pure distillery whiskey. It has been tested by the best connoisseurs, and the unanimous verdict was, that it is the best in its line.
It is finding it’s way rapidly into the hands of the leading clubs, hotels and dealers throughout the large cities, and a great future is predicted for it. Messrs. Acker, Merrill & Condit, Park & Tilford, and the leading grocers, gave it a place at once, and are selling it freely upon it’s merits.
Thirteen years later, in 1910, the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory stated that “The Kintore’s wholesale dealer, A. Halliday & Co., was “in liquidation, so it’s very possible that Steinhart Bros. picked up the Kintore brand right around this time.
After Prohibition, the Schenley Import Corp., New York appears to have taken over as the product’s importer.
The bottle I found is actually a one quart ceramic jug that includes Steinhardt Brothers & Co. written in script. This puts the jug’s manufacture sometime between 1910 and 1919 if I’m right about Steinhart picking up the brand after A. Halliday’s liquidation in 1910.
I also found a machine made flask (7 oz) for another Steinhart brand, Littlemore Special Blend. The 1934 trademark application for Littlemore states that the name was in use dating back to 1907 so it also fits the pre-prohibition time frame.